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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:37:34     -    Dead Head Fred (PSP)


    GAMEPLAY

    Before playing the game, I looked at a few reviews to see if it was something I would like. One thing every review I read said was that the combat was sub-par. However, I disagree with the reviews completely. The combat was really fun and entertaining. It wasn't really deep, but it definately does some things right. You do combos by pushing square and x, and then finish off enemies by snapping their heads off with triangle. If an enemy tries to do a special, you can counter it with triangle to do a really stylistic move on the enemy to counter it. I could see it getting tiresome over time, but in the two hours I played it was really fun. One thing they could have done to improve upon it, however, is change up the types of counters you can do and have multiple combos, not just random button mashing.

    The graphics for the game really amaze me. The visuals in the game are on par with your average Playstation 2 game which I find amazing.

    I found myself really drawn to the story and I was really hooked on finding out what would happen next. Dead Head Fred is the first video game to be recognized by the WGA (Writers Guild of America) which is the reason I chose to play it. This game could have easily gotten away with a sub par plot since its style is so over the top, but they really didn't slack off when it came to the story.

    DESIGN

    I really like the idea of changing heads to get different abilities. This could have turned out really terrible if executed poorly, but they really made it work. Each head has strengths and weaknesses which keeps you switching between them constantly. When you take on a new head, your character changes his stance and even walks differently.

    This game creates conflict through waves of enemies, puzzles, and trying to figure out where to go. The game is linear for the most part, but there are times in which there are multiple paths and you have to correctly choose which way to go.

    The game has a really dark tone. The color palette perfectly blends bright colors found in cartoons with a more dark palette more common with action and horror games. I think more games should try and blend these two tones together because I think they blend together perfectly.

    One major problem I've had with other PSP games is that they are extremely unforgiving when it comes to save points and continue points, like in Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters. Ratchet and Clank was a fun game, but the respawn points were so few and far between that it made the game completely unenjoyable at times and I'd have to replay areas over and over to get back to a challenging part, just to die again. Dead Head Fred, on the other hand, really handles save points and respawn points right. Everytime you enter a room, a respawn point is created and you can save your progress in whatever room you wish. It made the game far more enjoyable and a whole lot less tedious. I think frequent respawn points, especially in portable games in which you might only play for a couple minutes at a time, are an essential element in game design. They are overlooked far too often.

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    Mar 6th, 2008 at 01:15:14     -    Dead Head Fred (PSP)

    SUMMARY

    Dead Head Fred is a 3rd person action adventure game. You play as Fred Neuman, an investigator who somehow lost his head during one of his missions. A mad scientist resurrects you and give you the ability to switch between different heads, each giving you different abilities.

    GAMEPLAY

    The first thing I noticed while playing the game was how interesting all of the characters are. The voice acting is superb, and the voices all fit the characters perfectly. The main character Fred Neuman is original and refreshing. Most games either have a total "badass" character or a cartoony "kiddy" character. I think Fred Neuman falls directly between these two categories. He is really "cartoony" in his actions, but he swears constantly.

    The next thing I noticed was the unique art style of the game. It is drawn with a cartoon style with big heads, animated features on people, and slapstick violence, however it has a very mature tone to it. The dark comedy of the plot really carries over into the art design. Everything you see and all of the levels perfectly fit the story.

    The game was really fun to play. After playing other 3rd person games on the psp like Daxter and Ratchet, I can say this is the best controlling in terms of running around the world. I always felt like Daxter and Ratchet moved too slow. Fred, on the other hand, is just the right speed and his movements are really fluid.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:39:32     -    Goldeneye 007 (N64)

    GAMEPLAY

    After playing a bit more, I really started to wish there was more story within the levels. Although telling the player the story before each level was acceptable back when Goldeneye came out, it wouldn't work too well in a first person shooter today. If I were to make this game any different, I'd have important plot points and scripted events happen durring the game to keep the player engaged.
    Scripted events, especially with enemies, would help remind the player that they are people too, not just things you point at and push a button to make dissapear.

    I also played the mutiplayer with a few other people. It was pretty fun. When Goldeneye was released, it was praised for its robust multiplayer options. You can customize which weapons you play with, how long you want to play, and more. Trying matches with different weapons added a lot of replayability. The most fun came out of trash-talking my opponents. Theres something about Goldeneye that makes people go crazy with trash-talking. It was a lot of fun to shoot my friend then gloat about it until he did the same back to me.

    DESIGN

    As I said earlier, the game has an amazing sense of flow. The level design is superb. For example, the first level is pretty linear, but there are also some sidepaths in case the player wishes to explore a bit. I honestly think at least some linearity in first person shooters is a good thing. Pacing in a first person game is key; it needs to almost have a rythhm to it. If you give the player too many options on where to be go, they will go through the game cautiously. They won't be thinking about what is ahead of them, they will be thinking about what could possibly be on the other 3 paths they did not go on.

    I know that Goldeneye was good for its time, but it's easy to see what would it would need to improve on if it had come out today. The AI, while impressive back then, would sporadically not attack me, even when I was right in front of it.

    I really like what Rare did with the levels regarding game space. The N64 isn't that powerful, and not many things can be drawn at the screen at once. This causes a problem for levels that need to be outside. Rare approached this by placing the level in a place in which emptiness would seem normal. For example, in the first level, you are surrounded by water. It makes sense that this area would be virtually empty, since it's just a lake. It also helps to make the player feel he is in a larger world that he/she is actually in. It is truly a win win situation.

    Goldeneye was an inspirational first person shooter who's innovative design inspired many of the well-loved first person shooters today. It might not hold up amazingly today, but it is easy to see why it was so revolutionary.

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    Feb 21st, 2008 at 01:39:12     -    Goldeneye 007 (N64)

    SUMMARY

    In Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64, you play as James Bond. This game is a first person shooter based off of the movie with the same name. You go from level to level completing the objectives given to you. It's a pretty standard first person shooter.

    GAMEPLAY

    The story for the game is presented to the player at the beginning of each level in a folder as if it were a briefing for an actual mission James Bond would go on. Rare effectively used the weaknesses of the Nintendo 64 here, because not having a video saves space and actually helps you feel like James Bond in this instance. The story is pretty good, as it is mostly the same as the James Bond movie.

    Since Goldeneye is a really old game, I thought it was going to be close to unplayable. First person shooters of today have really spoiled people because they control a whole lot better than FPSes of the past. The controls aren't great, but they work really well and I can easily see how it revolutionized FPS gaming on home consoles. There is no straffing, and you just move your character with the analog stick. There is an auto-aim so you can just run and gun, but you can also stop, press R, and aim by yourself for a more precise shot. It seems archaic to toady's standards, but it isn't terrible.

    Another thing that suprised me was how it was able to suck me in. After just a few minutes of playing, I was really addicted. The game has excellent flow. Enemies are at the right spots and the levels just seem to be put together in a logical way.

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